USD/JPY pulled back sharply overnight dropping swiftly below 105 as weaker global equities / higher risk aversion together with a pull back in US yields weighed on the currency pair. Nonetheless, its pull back is set to prove temporary and if anything provides better levels to initiate long positions. A Japanese holiday today will limit the scope for much movement in the currency.
Japan clearly has a lot of policy challenges in the months ahead (consumption tax hike, Prime Minister Abe’s third arrow, and hitting the 2% inflation target) which could prompt some volatility in the JPY but the risks remain skewed for more downside in the currency, especially given the potential for more aggressive BoJ policy action and of course the likelihood that the real yield differential between the US and Japan widens further.
AUD was undermined somewhat by the release of weaker than expected Chinese manufacturing and non manufacturing confidence data and softer commodity prices but overall the currency looks like it has found a new range around 0.8820- 0.8980 against the USD over the short term. This relative stability even in the wake of disappointing news in China marks a major shift compared to the selling pressure registered over much of Nov/Dec 13.
I am more constructive on AUD going forward and expect much more limited downside potential in the week ahead. Direction next week will come from trade data, building approvals and retail sales, but movement ahead of this will be limited.